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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Dominates Christmas Eve Box Office

Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has stayed spectacular, dominating U.S. moviegoing on Christmas Eve with $27.1 million at 4,134 locations on its seventh day of release.

The space saga racked up $391.1 million in its first week — obliterating the record of $296.2 million set in June by the first week of “Jurassic World.” It also smashed the Christmas Eve record, set in 2009 by “Avatar” at $11.2 million.

“The Force Awakens” is already the 22nd highest domestic grosser of all time. Its Christmas Eve grosses pushed it past the notable hits “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” ($381 million), “Finding Nemo” ($380.8 million) and “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” ($380.3 million).

On Christmas Eve, “The Force Awakens” took in 13 times the amount of its closest rivals, Fox’s “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Trip” with $2 million at 3,653 sites in its seventh day and Paramount’s “The Big Short” with $1.7 million at 1,585 theaters on its second day in wide release.

Paramount’s Will Ferrell-Mark Wahlberg comedy “Daddy’s Home” took in $1.2 million in preview screenings on Christmas Eve at 1,920 locations.

Internationally, the seventh Star Wars has hit $422.4 million, bringing its global box office receipts to $813.5 million. The pic should surpass the  $1 billion worldwide mark by the end of the Christmas weekend, setting yet another record as the fastest to hit the 10-figure milestone.

Disney’s “The Force Awakens” is directed by J.J. Abrams and set three decades after “The Return of the Jedi.” Daisy Ridley and John Boyega lead a cast of newcomers to the franchise, joining original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

Competition intensifies Friday with a quartet of wide openings —  “Daddy’s Home,” Warner Bros.’ remake of “Point Break,” Fox’s Jennifer Lawrence vehicle “Joy” and Sony’s Will Smith NFL drama “Concussion.” Additionally, The Weinstein Co. is launching the 70 mm version of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” in about 100 theaters and Fox opens Leonardo DiCaprio’s “The Revenant” at four theaters.

Paul Deragarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak, said that the weekend box office looks bountiful and has the potential to beat the previous North American earnings record of nearly $270 million, set in 2009 when “Avatar” and “Sherlock Holmes” led the way.

“Christmas Eve is usually slow at the box office for obvious reasons, but this year it’s providing a stronger than usual lead in to a Christmas Day that could provide the spark for the biggest Christmas weekend in box office history,” he said.

“With the momentum created by ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ and a host of notable holdovers hurtling us forward, this holiday weekend will provide a perfectly packaged gift to theater owners, studios and the industry at large as huge numbers of moviegoers will flock to the multiplex to sample from several brand new wide releases and great selection of limited release awards season contenders that are in the mix.”

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